Speaking at the Adesco conference in Co Tipperary last week, John O’Doherty of UCD noted that treating grain, rather than drying it, can result in a carbon footprint reduction of 10% in pigmeat as drying grain takes considerable amounts of fuel. He also noted that grain treatment can add to the performance of the animal.

O’Doherty explained from his research that there was no difference in intake between dried and treated grain, but average daily gain and feed conversion ratio was higher from treated grain.

Treated grain was found to have improved nutrient digestibility and can be safely fed to sows during lactation.

He commented that pigs fed treated grain had improved digestive health in weaned and grower pigs and added that treated grain provided excellent preservation during storage.

However, concern was raised from the audience with regards to corrosion in meal bins as acid is the product used for treating grain.

The acid used for grain treatment was an organic acid blend and zinc oxide inclusion was also examined in the trial. Research is ongoing into feeding treated grain. There was no significant difference between mycotoxin levels in any of the diets.

The lifecycle assessment to calculate the carbon footprint was calculated from 7kg to 120kg.

The animals fed the dried grain produced an average of 10.08kg CO2e/kg gained, while those fed the treated grain produced an average of 9.12kg CO2e/kg gained.